How often and how severely do you struggle with depression?

Forum category

Some of the godliest people struggled with depression. Elijah was one of them. Whether Jesus, as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” was ever depressed may be a matter of semantics.

Depression can come from various sources, IMO. Some people are genetically predisposed to operate in a mildly depressed state — at least most of the time. Others rarely struggle with depression.

Genetics, body chemistry, anger, frustration, disappointment, sad circumstances, pain, stress, weather, unhappiness, sunshine levels….a lot of possible issues.

I consider myself “occasionally depressed but it is relatively mild,” although it has not always been easy. But, like most pastors, I deal with people who struggle with more serious issues.

So how would you label your struggles with depression? A non-issue? An occasional problem The norm.

Select the answer that most closely resembles your experience. If you are both “mildly depressed as a normal setting” and are occasionally depressed, sometimes seriously,” indicate the later. The more severe of two choices would be appropriate.

If you have never taken medication for depression, you can label your experience “mild.”

Poll Results

How often and how severely do you struggle with depression?

I am never depressed. Votes: 6
I sometimes get depressed from health issues or prescribed medicine or medical treatments. Votes: 0
Other Votes: 0
I am rarely depressed. Votes: 7
I am occasionally or frequently depressed but it is relatively mild. Votes: 4
I am occasionally depressed, sometimes seriously. Votes: 4
“Mildly depressed” is my normal setting. Votes: 1
I am frequently seriously depressed; depression is a major issue for me. Votes: 1
My problem with depression borders on extreme. Votes: 1
I have had instances of severe depression, but not in recent times. Votes: 1
I would be depressed seriously, but I take medicine that is effective in preventing this. Votes: 0

(Migrated poll)

0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 0


Here’s the Mayo Clinic on what constitutes clinical depression. Put mildly, we are not talking about temporary sadness, intense grief (e.g. at funeral of a child), but rather something long-term and debilitating, mentally and physically.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

I did not have “clinical depression” as a category, but severe or serious depression certainly includes clinical depression. Clinical depression is more specific; I am letting poll participants determine whether they have have struggled with “severe/serious” depression.

I knew a man who told our Sunday School class, “I am never depressed. I don’t understand how so many people say they are depressed all the time.” I tried ot explain to him that not everyone has the same personality, and that some people go through more difficult situations than others. (I probably should have spoken about how many people struggle during adolescence or women with PMS). Anyhow, he had a stroke. When I went to visit him, his words were, “O.K. Now I’m depressed!”

"The Midrash Detective"

I honestly don’t remember any period of depression in my entire life until I went through a very difficult trial recently. One good thing that has come from it is that now I know what people are talking about. Prior to that I was like the person described above. My basic attitude was, “Get over yourself. It’s not about you.” In my own case I think that’s still probably what I need to hear but at least I have a frame of reference for others.

As I’m sure you’ve figured out, I put my comment in in the case that someone was struggling with depression and the ambiguity inherent in the term. Your points are well taken….

(hang in there, Josh….don’t know what you’re going through, but I’m in your corner)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

My depression story (or non-story)

I broke my neck and was completely paralyzed from the neck down (1987)

  • I was in intensive care for about a week (completely out of it except for very brief times awake)
  • Then I was in a Neurotrauma unit for about a week to get weaning off morphine. Morphine is such a sweet feeling drug - it’s hard to give it up
  • When I had to give up morphine (I’m ashamed to say this) I cried

9 weeks more of hospitalization - rehab. At the beginning I was Mr Happy. By the end I was telling them that I would leave if I wanted to and they would tell me no not yet.

They shipped me to a psychiatrist who told me I was in denial. I gave her the gospel and wheeled out

Jim God bless you for your perseverance during physical suffering non of us can even really truly comprehend.

I used to attend a church in Souderton Pa where the Senior Pastor for years suffered in pain greatly from a back injury sustained at the church. When he was a youth pastor of the church he and some of the teens on the local football team decided to pick up a VW bug from the back but then the youth pulled a joke by all letting go at once without telling the Youth Pastor. It was a joke that went array and severely injured the Pastors back.

So for 20 years he soldiered on and built a really thriving ministry. Then one day got up into the pulpit at church and announced he was resigning due to the pain he fought all those years which was causing him severe depression.

I know how he feels and sometimes you just want to throw in the towel take lots of pain killers and give up. Jim you have been a real inspiration to me to preserver with my Lord’s help. Again God bless you Jim you have been a blessing to all of us.

I’ve suffered from severe depression at times. One time as a young believer I thought the Lord had left me and I went into a blind panic. I ended up walking the streets every night for 3 months in terror and trying to fight off thoughts of suicide. I heard many dark voices telling me to end my life.

I moved back to my home town to be more at peace. But each morning when I woke I still thought about suicide. I asked the Lord why I was like this. I actually heard him say almost a whole sentence to me instead of one or two words. He said “You are depressed because of the way you are thinking” . I was amazed by this.

So I began to wonder what I was thinking about. And I realized I was constantly thinking I was unworthy of Christ, that I was an evil person etc. And believed I was without hope. Believing that if I punished myself in this way God would be pleased with me. I was only young in the faith and didn’t know anything better.

So I realized I would have to use effort through the whole day to stop my wrong thoughts. It was really draining to do this. But by the end of the day the constant thoughts of suicide began to leave me. I woke up the following morning and felt like a different person with no desire to end my life.

I didn’t realize that taking control of our thoughts is a biblical teaching. And also to form a disciplined mind.

it says in 1 Peter 5v8  : Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour

This episode changed my character into a mentally disciplined person and gave me so much freedom.

Nice to know that there are others who understand the strains of ministry.

From wrong eating habits my lungs, digestive system and entire endo system were all out of wack. Thought I was having a heart attack after three grinding, heart breaking ‘counseling’ visits. The straw that broke the back was the story of my friend Dan who’s stomach cancer would take him home in a year. I had to ask him to stop the sad story, hearing his pressure made it impossible for me to breath.

God took me on a road to recovery, replacing coffee, sugar, gluten …. but best of all reading the Genius of Puritanism. The last third of the book is about the perception of “abandonment”. All deeply worth the trip. Up to that rough night I never knew the tole shrugging ministerial pressures could take.

I think of pain from my past when people hurt me emotionally. Some of this is when I was a kid, but also in my time in the pastorate. I even tried to leave the ministry over three years ago, but I could not handle a management job I had gotten with Casey’s General Store because my back wouldn’t hold up. God showed me I had a back for ministry so I got another church.

Don't be a great pastor, just be a pastor and let history judge for itself.